AA Buyer's Guide: don't buy a 'clocked ' car
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Importing a vehicle has never been easier and many cross our borders with every passing month, but how can you guarantee the speedo is a true reflection of the distance travelled?
Buying a used vehicle from Japan
If you’re buying a used vehicle recently imported from Japan, it’s best to look for an odometer-certified/verified or odometer-certified/passed sticker, as well as an accompanying authorisation certificate showing that the vehicle has been inspected before it leaves Japan.
AA Motoring conducts odometer inspections with its partner Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre (JEVIC) - Japan’s largest odometer certification company - before the vehicle leaves Japan.
These checks can include:
- Examining all available service records to ensure they match the car's stated odometer reading
- Checking the car's history and comparing it to all other information about the car
- Checking the car's overall condition for signs of wear that are inconsistent with the odometer reading
Some companies also offer a Japanese vehicle history report service that can give an indication of mileage travelled before import.
Buying an import from another country
If the used car that you’re interested in has just entered New Zealand from another country, there is often very little information available about its history. In these instances, it’s worth getting an independent expert to give the vehicle a once-over, so they can assess whether its overall condition matches the number of kilometres it reads.
Before buying a used car, we always recommend booking an AA Pre Purchase Vehicle Inspection.
Car repair bills are often unexpected and can leave you out of pocket. A thorough inspection can uncover secrets of a vehicle’s past that you can’t spot yourself, offering some reassurance that you’re buying a reliable car before handing over your hard-earned money.
Book an AA Pre Purchase Inspection here.
Vehicles already registered and used on NZ roads
If you’re buying a vehicle that’s already registered and on the road in NZ, you can buy an online AA Vehicle History report which informs potential buyers of any discrepancies in the odometer readings, based upon the figures that were recorded during every Warrant of Fitness.
An AA Vehicle History report looks for regular patterns and brings up warnings if something doesn’t quite line up. It highlights any security interest on the vehicle that can be inherited by a new buyer and also lets you know if it has been imported as damaged.
Essentially, you want to make sure the vehicle condition reflects what you would expect for the age and mileage. The newer the vehicle or the lower the kilometres, the less acceptable any defects should be.
AA Motoring recommendations
AA Motoring recommends you always buy from a trusted dealer. Look up the business and see if its vehicles are checked by an independent experienced mechanic and also check for any online reviews from people who have previously bought from the dealer. You can usually do some quick and easy research by searching their name on Google. You may even want to check with friends or on social media.
Do your research before you hand over your money; don’t give away your trust too easily, as it’s not solely dealers who import used vehicles.
Click here to find an AA Appraised Used Car Dealer near you.